I’m reading this book called “RISK: A practical guide for deciding what’s really safe and what’s really dangerous in the world around you.” It is the dullest book ever. You could sum it all up by saying, “Shut up, entitled wealthy US-ian, nothing is going to harm you, ever, except your own bad habits and stupidity; go put on some sunscreen, quit smoking, and wear your seatbelt. We’re scientists. Corporations and the government don’t do anything dangerous, except when sometimes they did in the past, and it’s all better now, you can stop worrying. Oh and by the way fuck Rachel Carson and her thin-shelled hawk eggs, it was all a lot of panic for nothing.”
While I’m the first to be annoyed by anti-science paranoia I also love me a spotted newt and a baby hawk. I also love depth of information. The book lacks any basic info on statistics, scientific method, and clinical studies… For instance my favorite pregnancy book – The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer – has about a 4 page explanation of what the stats in clinical studies MEAN… it blew my mind. Risk is aimed not at the Thinking Woman but at the Dumbass Everyman. I don’t recommend it unless you are such a gullible fool that you are alarmed by every sniff of public panic about aspartame or whatever, and continue in your gullibility and lack of critical thinking so far that you will accept the spoon-fed pap of this book…
People’s specific fears aren’t rational. What *is* rational is knowing that some weird-ass, innocuous thing everyone thinks is safe is going to be not. Personal lubricant, celery, fuzzy socks, or, god forbid… armwarmers. Violent revolution. That sort of thing.